The Right People on the Bus

One Tree believes that our organisation cannot provide quality services or grow faster than its ability to attract and retain the right people.

Article by the Damien Cole Group:

“If we have the right people ‘on the bus’ they will do everything in their power to build the company, not because of what they will ‘get’ for it, but because they simply cannot imagine settling for anything less. Their moral code requires building excellence for its own sake … The right people will do the right things and deliver the best results they are capable of, regardless of the incentive system. We cannot turn lazy people into hard workers. But we can create an environment where hard working people thrive, and lazy people either jump or are thrown off the bus.

The right people want to be a part of building excellence. The purpose of compensation is not to motivate the ‘right’ performance and behaviour from the wrong people, but to get and keep the right people in the first place. Given all of this, I have worked out that expensing energy trying to motivate people, is largely a waste of time … Among the competencies, that have always distinguished those, who in the long run succeed, from those who don’t, is integrity.”

One Tree’s experience aligns with that reflected by the Damien Cole Group and we are committed to attracting and retaining the ‘right people on the bus’.

We have all experienced what happens when we have someone who is not performing. We try different ways of approaching them, we give third and fourth chances, we worry we won’t be able to replace them, we find ourselves thinking about the situation too much, we invest resources trying to manage the person and we build systems to compensate for their shortcomings. However, with all our efforts the situation doesn’t improve.

Strong performers are intrinsically motivated, and when they find themselves compensating for the under performance of others, they eventually become frustrated and think about leaving the organisation. Letting the wrong people remain is unfair to all the right people, as they inevitably will leave. It is equally not beneficial for the people who are not performing as it denies them the opportunity to work in an organisation where they may find a better fit.

In relation to Our People, One Tree will:


1. Encourage, select and retain people who will do everything in their power to strengthen the organisation.

2. Value people that demonstrate a moral code that focuses on excellence, delivering the best results they are capable of.

3. Create an environment where hardworking people thrive, and unmotivated people are encouraged to seek employment where they are more likely to flourish.

4. Value people that have character traits and innate capabilities that reflect a positive attitude, over specific knowledge, background or skills.

5. Reward people who are achieving by not burdening them with people who aren’t.

6. Value and invest in self-motivated people that demonstrate a ‘can-do’ attitude and not focus resources on motivating unmotivated people.

7. Be sensitive and supportive of people who demonstrate that they are the ‘right people’, especially when they are experiencing times of personal situational difficulties.

8. Provide resources not to motivate the right performance and behaviour from the ‘wrong people’, but to attract and retain the ‘right people’.

9. Mentor and support the ‘right people’ in their learning.

10. Protect whistle-blowers against retaliation.